Exploring the Factors Contributing Towards Teacher Workplace Bullying Across the Teaching Ranks: Focus on Selected South African Public Schools
Teachers are among those professional groups that are at the substantial risk of becoming victims of workplace bullying, yet the knowledge base on why they turn upon one another remains scantily explored. The present qualitative paper, positioned within an interpretivist paradigm, set out to give adequate attention to Teacher Workplace Bullying (TWB) by empirically exploring its contributory factors in South African public schools. To attain the aim, convenient and purposive sampling techniques were used to identify the 16 participants from whom primary data were collected through separable face-to-face interviews. Data were analysed through a Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA) process, by means of an inductive reasoning. Steered by Johnson’s ecological model of workplace bullying, data revealed that greatest number of the participants confirmed various factors triggering bullying across the teaching ranks, namely, a lack of mutual respect, and competition for promotional teaching posts was a prominent factor in most of the nine researched schools. The findings further signalled the vulnerability of temporary and newly appointed teachers in comparison to the long serving staff members, and thus present TWB as a territorial phenomenon. In contemplation of preventing TWB, it is recommended that principals take the lead in changing the organisational culture from top down, where mutual respect is normalised, since a change in behaviour and practice may yield desirable results. Principals and teachers’ trade unions should refrain from interfering in the promotion appointments processes as their undue influence perpetuates TWB. This paper augments the restricted knowledge base on TWB and hope to create alertness to the educational policy-makers, scholars, and practitioners about this disparaging form of bullying.
Copyright (c) 2024 Michael Moreti Mahome
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).